The Puranas are traditional stories and teachings based on the spiritual philosophy of the Vedas and the Upanishads. There are eighteen Puranas. Their author was the great sage Vyasa who also dictated the Mahabharata. Millions and billions of people have heard these inspiring stories, anecdotes and parables. They deal mostly with the cosmic gods and goddesses. Quite a few stories show how the gods and goddesses used to curse each other in the twinkling of an eye. Other stories, especially stories about Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, reveal their struggle for supremacy.
The major difference between the Vedas and the Puranas is that the Vedic gods represent the cosmic attributes of the One, while the Puranic gods represent His human attributes.
The Puranas present Hinduism in an easy, interesting, charming and convincing manner. They contain none of the esoteric or philosophical content of the older sacred works, the Vedas and the Upanishads. These stories are funnier than the funniest. We get tremendous joy from them. Then again, there are scholars who will be able to give elaborate explanations. From these explanations, which are created by the reasoning mind, we will never get any joy. There is joy in reading the stories, joy in hearing them, but no joy in entering into philosophical discourse. Let the philosophers and historians play their role in their own way; we are not interested.
These stories from the Puranas are not for the mind to understand but for the heart to enjoy.
- Sri Chinmoy